Opioid abuse and addiction has reached a level of national crisis and has been declared an epidemic in the U.S. Because opioid abuse is the highest it has ever been, more and more people are looking for options to recover from their issues with prescription painkillers. Fortunately, it is possible to quit opioids for good even for those who have struggled with an addiction for a long time.
There can be many factors that cause people to abuse opioids but it is important for everyone to understand that these kinds of drugs are highly addictive. Common opioids like codeine, Vicodin, Oxycontin and Percoset all contain slightly modified components of opium. They are prescribed to combat pain but they also tend to produce a feeling of euphoria that people become hooked on.
Opiates are also addictive because people tend to develop a tolerance to them meaning that they need to take more and more to get the same effects. Tolerance is actually one of the first signs of addiction as well as symptoms of withdrawal whenever someone misses a dose of the medication. Someone who is experiencing tolerance and withdrawal is most likely dealing with a physical dependence on the medication which makes it very difficult to quit.
Signs of an Opioid Addiction
Because opioids are a legal, prescription drug people may not be sure whether they or someone they love is actually dealing with an addiction. These are some possible signs that a person is addicted to opioids:
-Use of opioids has increased over time with a higher dose or more frequent dosage
-Withdrawal symptoms whenever medication is ceased for a period of time
– Using more medication than intended or more than is prescribed by a doctor
– Experiencing negative consequences as a result of opioid use
– Failing to meet responsibilities due to excessive opioid use
– Making unsuccessful attempts to reduce drug use
Whenever someone has lost control of their drug use and it is starting to interfere with their life then they are most likely dealing with an addiction. The only way to quit a serious addiction such as opioid abuse is to get help from a treatment center. Attempting to quit on your own is dangerous and most often ineffective.
Treatment for Opioid Abuse
In order to recover from an opioid addiction, the first step is to find a detox center to rid yourself of the chemical dependency that you have on the medication. Being physically addicted to a drug can be a huge impedance that prevents you from focusing on the mental aspects of addiction recovery. An opioid addict will face some significant struggles during detox but attending a detox clinic with medical staff on hand will ensure that it is safe and effective.
During detox a patient may experience a number of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms once they completely abstain from any drug use. Withdrawal symptoms are normal, can be treated with medical care and usually subside within a few weeks. During detox people may experience symptoms such as:
- Irritability, agitation, low energy
- Insomnia and other sleep problems
- Hot and cold sweats
- Muscle aches and pains
- Stomach cramps,nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
People in detox also tend to have mental health symptoms such as feelings of depression or anxiety. These may subside over the course of detox but if they persist they can be treated in a rehab setting.
Following detox, it is equally important for someone with an opioid addiction to attend an inpatient or outpatient treatment program that will address their mental addiction to painkillers. Detox eliminates physical dependency but does not treat the underlying issues that may be present in someone who has an addiction. There may be mental health factors that contributed to their need to self-medicate or other issues that must be treated in a rehab facility.
At a rehab center, someone in recovery from an opioid addiction will have access to a personal therapist on a regular basis. Therapy is a crucial step in recovery because it allows a patient the chance to discuss their problems one on one with a professional who understands the causes and triggers that are involved with addiction. A therapist can help an individual figure out why they became addicted and give them insight on what they can do to remain sober.
One of the major benefits of attending a rehab facility is having the opportunity to connect with other people who are struggling with the same issues. Attending group therapy or support meetings can be a great way to heal from any problems of the past and develop new relationships that will keep you on track with your sobriety goals. A support system you can trust is a crucial element in preventing relapse.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to opioids, there is help available. Contact a local treatment center that offers detox and inpatient rehab for opioid addiction as soon as possible.